Aug 18

Oslo, Norway – Day 4

For our final morning and afternoon in Oslo, we decided to head on down to the waterfront – but this time over towards the Tjuvholmen sculpture park.

Our first stop however was the Historical Museum – as we had a free pass from the Viking Ship Museum – my plan was to see the only preserved Viking helmet in the world (!) but unfortunately, the museum was under some renovation, and the Viking helmet wasn’t around, so we didn’t get it see it. Such a shame. Next time! We then slowly made our way down to the waterfront, via a couple of shops.

Tjuvholmen sculpture park

Gina getting some sun

At Tjuvholmen sculpture park – we had a nice sit down in the sun, sipped some coffee, before heading on back to get our bags, and catch the train to the airport – all in all, a fantastic break to Oslo. We got to see so much!

A 50mm photoshoot

Mae’r haul bob amser yn disgleirio ar y locsyn coch

Aug 18

Oslo, Norway – Day 2 – Museum Day!

As I was the one in charge of planning this awesome weekend – I planned very nicely for us the best places for breakfast and coffee for the morning. Gina, really wanted to willy-nilly go into any old place that served breakfast, but I made sure stuck to our well planned places, and our breakfast destination for today was this lovely cafe called; Godt Brod Grunerlokka. It was a lovely place, great building with awesome Nordic pastries and coffee.

Gina and our Nordic breakfast

After breakfast, we bought some travel cards for the day as we were planning on zooming around the city quite a lot, and jumped on the bus to our first museum of the day – and the one that inspired Gina to get this awesome trip for us; The Viking Ship Museum!

The bus took us directly there, all the way to the other side of the peninsula, to the area known as Bygdøy. It was quite clear how busy the place was going to be, as the bus was jammed by the time we got to the museum. We hopped off the bus, and was pleasantly surprised by how lovely the purposely built building that housed the Viking boats was.

The first thing you see when entering the museum was the truly amazing Oseberg Ship, completely whole, excavated from the largest known ship burial in the world. This ship was massive, and so beautiful – and is commonly acknowledged to be the finer artefacts to have survived from the Viking era. Every single carving was still visible, especially at the bow and stern, together with the spiral structure at the bow and stern of the boat – which was remarkable. Standing under the massive structure really gave it a sense of scale.

Gina and the Oseberg

Oseberg from the viewing platform

There were two, almost as impressive boats in this amazing museum, the Gokstad ship and the Tune ship, which we spent time studying and admiring. The museum was such a lovely space, the ceilings were super high, which really gave scale to these boats, but there were also little overhangs/balconies to which you could climb up, to view the decks on which the Vikings would have been sitting on. There was also a few skeletal remains, which the archeologists found when they excavated the boats, and a whole lot of Viking era jewellery, bits of clothes, carriage, and an incredible animated short-film that was projected onto the walls and ceiling, depicting the story of a chieftain and his Viking ship. Amazing. I loved it.

Gokstad ship

We took 10 mins, and did a quick sketch of the boats, before heading around the corner to the second museum of the day; The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History. This place was great. It’s;

…a museum of cultural history with [an] extensive collections of artefacts from all social groups and all regions of the country. It also incorporates a large open-air museum with more than 150 buildings, relocated from towns and rural districts.

It covers a large amount of land, and it’s all nicely laid out for you to walk around, and admire the amazing wooden buildings they’ve got from all over Norway. The most amazing building was the ‘The Gol Stave Church’ dating from around the 1200;

The Gol Stave Church

Iest and the church for scale

There are many other amazing buildings here, including a farm from the 1950’s, old towns building from Oslo ranging from 1600 – 19th century, to various old wooden storehouses from the 1700’s. You could pop into some of the buildings, where they had some of the furniture from the era, so it all looked quite amazing. There were a few shops dotted around too, selling food or sweets from the era that building was from. We were super lucky with the weather, so it was a beautiful morning out in the open-air museum.

From here, it was time for lunch, and I’d done my research, and took us to a rather nice restaurant called Lantern on the waterfront, where Gina had some sound and I had my first burger of the day.

Lantern, on the waterfront

Our lunch

After filling up, and walking through the lovely neighbourhood of incredible Scandi-architecture, we caught the bus back to the city centre, for our third museum of the day; The National Gallery. It houses Norway’s largest collection of art – so we were in for a great time! Their collection was quite wonderful, we got to see The Scream, Madonna, & The Sick Child, by Edvard Munch. I was quite surprised by how quiet it was around the ‘Scream’ – so I managed to get a good picture of it. We both loved Harald Sohlberg ‘Winter Night in the Mountains’ – the colours on it seemed like they glow in the dark somehow, really capturing the moonlight, but my favourite had to be Erik Werenskiold and his work ‘Peasant burial’ – with his incredibly detailed landscape and peasants.

Munch’s ‘Scream’

Munch’s ‘Madonna’

Sohlberg’s ‘Winter Night in the Mountains’

Heyerdahl’s ‘Fra Asgardstrand’

By the time we’d finished, and popped out – it had been raining, as all of Oslo was wet – so we were quite lucky, and timed the indoor museum very well! As we were in the area (and it was down in my itinerary) we walked over to Slottsplassen park for views and the Royal Palace, a sit down, and a sketch in our sketchbooks, before returning back to our AirBnb for a nice chill and some Norwegian style yogurt via the main shopping street of Olso; Karl Johans gate.

On our way to the Palace

The Royal Palace

Gina and a Guard

Festival at the waterfront

For the evening, we headed down towards the city to centre, only to find out there was a massive music festival taking place on the water – right infront of the Opera House. We chilled here for a bit, before heading back up for some dinner – tonight we were keeping it causal, so we had some Veggie burger at the well-recommended ‘Wunderburger’ which was just around the corner. They were indeed, great – so we sat by the window, enjoying watching people pass, before heading back for the night.

Mar 17


Thursday 23 March
I got a trip to Amsterdam for my b’day, which was cool, and finally the day came for us to get up at an ungodly hour and haul our bags to the airport. Based on previous experience, we did not rely on the trains as they are pretty much more on strike than working, and took Terrell up there with us, which was probably the less stressful choice.

The flight was very short, but we did manage to strike a conversation with an Amsterdam local, and a world-class barista at that, so we had a list of hipster coffee houses to visit while we’re there.

Amsterdam was super sunny when we arrived, and was to stay that way for the four days of our trip. I think last time I saw four days of sun in a row it was in Cambodia. We took the train to town and the tram to our awesome B&B and it all took almost not time at all. Our place was a great studio flat on the top floor of the De Pijp swanky district and we were very happy with it. It also had a cat-view (to the balcony across the street). We could not admire it for too long, as we had timed tickets to the Anne Frank’s house, so we had to run. We really enjoyed the exhibition, as much as one can ‘enjoy’ it, and we learned a lot.


After Anne Frank’s house we had shockingly good lunch in Singel 404, and went on for the truly unmissable Amst stuff – museum of all cat art. They had live cats living in as well. The house was beautiful on its own and all the cat paintings, sketches, sculptures, photos, posters and kitsch made it all the better.

Iest shocked at Singel

Cat Cabinet

Afterwards, due to a haircutting accident of the day before (in London), I had to find a hairdresser’s to make me feel human again, and Iest went to one of the coffee places on his list. After successful missions on both sides we spent the rest of the evening having a nice dusky stroll along the canals.

Evening Amst

Friday 24 March
We had to get up reasonably early as our tickets to Van Gogh museum were also timed, and we chose an early-ish time to avoid the most of the crowds. We didn’t mind too much as it was sunny and all nice and fresh. For breakfast, we ticked off another coffee place, Coffee & Coconuts, a bit too hipstery and pretentious for me (but at this point I did not know yet what was coming the next day, compared to which C&C was your old run-of the-mill, casual, shabby, a bit mundane, and slightly boring greasy spoon).

Van Gogh museum was great and we learned a lot again, even about the unfortunate ear incident. We really liked the exhibitions.

We thought we could go to the Rijks museum right after as they are conveniently located next to each other, but by this time it was really full of school classes and tourists, and we decided to rather go tomorrow early in the morning again, and instead went to the foodhall for some nice lunch.

Gina at the Van Gough atrium

Pretty Begijnhof

We then went back to the city centre as we wanted to visit the Royal Palace but that was closed for some fancy royal visit, so we went a class down and headed to the redlight district. That was pretty disheartening overall, and we headed out again as soon as we could. We found some solace in the Begijnhof, which was like the opposite in spirit – quiet, transcendent, and pure. Topped it up with a tea and cake, some more canals (starting to look all the same to me tbh), and had a nice dinner at the Thai place on our street.

Saturday 25 March
Woken up to an escaped parrot on the tree in front of our window, which was kind of cool but i hope he found a way home.
Rijks museum in the morning. All the Rembrandt Night Watch, and all the other highlights we had a handy list of, plus the great library.

Rijks library

Gina & Rembrandt’s ‘Night Watch’

Afterwards we went to Back to Black, another coffee place on Iest’s list, I liked this one too, as they were selling canvas shopping bags with a nice ‘Only cats can judge me’ design, which i got as a b-day present from Amst.

Back to Black

Then we thought it was a great time to take a nice boat ride through the canals and hear a bit of the history and all, and in principle it was a great idea. In practice, the boat was nice and comfy and gently rocking and the narration in the headphones so soothing, so I slept through most of it. I think Iest had a good time tho.

Iest having a good time

On the river

In the evening, after a quick nap an a re-charge, we headed back out to the centre to see the streets at night, and for a bite to eat. After much debating, we settled for a fantastic cheese board, with some bread!

Wine and cheese board

Sunday 26 March
For b-fast we went to the Scandinavian Embassy and words fail me in trying to convey how pretentious this place was. Iest loved it of course, he even got another cup of the sour brew to go. Whatevs, we try to cater the trip to all cognitive abilities. We then dedicated the morning to a nice stroll in the Vondel park, observing loads of birds and trying to find Picasso’s fish-bird which we probably in the end did or maybe it was some kind of rubbish heap.

Heron ?


We also went to an unfashionable part of the town to take a pic of a windmill/brewery, just so that we can tick all the boxes, and that was about it, we started to wrap our trip up.

Altogether we had a great time in Amsterdam, and really enjoyed our little break; should do this more often!